In this series we will be shining a spotlight on some of the inspiring women who are breaking down barriers, leading by example, and paving the way for the future of women in the utilities industry. There are so many incredible women that are changing the world of utilities, and we wish we could shout about them all - this list rounds up just a few of our top picks of women in the utilities industry.

Did you know women make up only 13.9% of senior management within the energy and utilities industry, which is marginally lower than non-energy industries at 15.5%?

The energy sector remains one of the least gender-diverse sectors and closing this gender gap will be vital as women are key drivers of innovative and inclusive solutions. When it comes to utilities, women are highly underrepresented, but the industry is far from uniform. The International Energy Agency has collected data from almost 2,500 firms and over 38,000 employees which found that women in senior roles are better represented in the utilities sector at 17.1% than in the energy industry as a whole at 13.9%. However, these figures are tainted by the fact that more than 25% of utility firms in the study showed no evidence of women senior managers. 

So, what more can we do to encourage women to go into careers in the utilities industry? 

We must challenge the stereotyping and bias that can still pervade the working culture, particularly within the male-dominated utilities sectors. Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce will maximise innovation, creativity and competitiveness, and pave the way for a brighter future - which is the exact reason why we’ve compiled this list. 

This list of women in the utilities industry are true changemakers, breaking boundaries and paving the way for the future of females in this industry - hoping to inspire more females to follow their career dreams.

Enass Abo-Hamed - CE0 & Co-founder of H2GO Power

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Enass is the co-founder and CEO at H2GO power ltd; an award-winning spin-out company from the University of Cambridge developing energy storage technologies. She completed her PhD at Cambridge University, where she also was a postdoctoral fellow and elected Cambridge University Energy Champion. Currently, she is also a member of the Advisory Board at BeyondNetZero’s General Atlantic Growth Fund and a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow.

She has 11 years of research and business experience in hydrogen production & storage, catalysis, renewable energy and energy storage. Enass is passionate about climate entrepreneurship and clean energy technology policy and often gives keynote speeches at international forums and participates in high-impact roundtable discussions on clean energy, energy security and women entrepreneurship in tech.

Due to her commitments, Enass has won a few recognition awards and grants to support the development of H2GO Power and recently won the visionary of the year award by MIT Tech Review Innovators Under 35 Europe, the best energy start-up award at the Global Hello Tomorrow Summit and others. In 2015, she was selected by the Cartier women’s initiative awards as one in 18 best women entrepreneurs globally and one in 3 representing Europe. 

Fiona Humphreys - CIO at E.ON Energy 

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Fiona leads the digital transformation for E.ON UK, where she is focused on understanding customers’ needs and turning those needs into technology services and sustainable solutions for customers’ homes and businesses.

As a black female leader, creating an inclusive workplace and improving diversity is what’s important to Fiona. Because of this, she has also become a sponsor of Fast Forward, e.ons talent network, which launched in March 2021 to support women’s career progression and development.

Throughout her 20 years of experience in all areas of IT and business transformation, she has been the leader of many transformational changes, supporting sustainable growth and multimillion cost efficiencies, to transforming legacy technology estates, enabling organisations to reduce costs and effectively compete in the market.

The work she is doing at e.on is helping pave the way for a more diverse and sustainable future in the energy sector. 

Geeta Chandra - Managing Director of Waste Logics Software

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Waste Logics software is an online waste management software solution that makes it easier to meet the day-to-day operational needs of waste management businesses. Trusted by skip hire and trade waste companies, waste transfer stations, material recycling facilities and scrap metal processors. Geeta began the company after working in the waste management industry herself and realising that the traditional paper-based methods of managing drivers, skips and other assets, jobs and customers were highly inefficient. 

Initially, she set out to create a solution for her employer of the time, but ended up creating a solution which could be applied across the industry - hence the birth of Waste Logics. Waste Logics is now the leading provider of business process automation software to the waste management industry.

Both Geeta’s business and her determination as a businesswoman are creating a better, more sustainable future for the next generation.  

Giulia Pedretti  - Director of Arteak

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Arteak provides consulting in Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) as well as operational services for the oil and gas, construction, shipbuilding, energy, transport, chemical, pharmaceutical, telecommunications industries and plant maintenance. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company developed SMART (Service Management Augmented Reality Technology), enterprise software which digitally connects Arteak technicians in real-time with experts, trainers and personnel. The 26-year-old Brescia native who moved to London when she was 19, runs the company headquartered in London, with subsidiaries in Italy, South Africa and Singapore, and has 80 full-time employees currently providing services in 21 countries worldwide.

Giulia graduated in Global Business Management (BA) Bachelor’s degree from Regent’s University London.

Giulia’s work helps companies in high-risk industries to manage HSE and consistently helps them grow unhindered. They have experience with high-profile clients who operate within a variety of industries including Oil and Gas, Construction, Facility Maintenance, Power and Petrochemical, Energy Extraction, Manufacturing, Refining and Distribution, Telecommunications, Transport Services, and Renewable Energy.

Katie Jackson - Executive Vice president of Shell & Chair of POWERful Women

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Katie Jackson is currently Executive Vice President for Acquisition, Divestment and New Business Development at Shell, where she first started her career in 1994 as a Drilling Engineer. In the intervening years, she worked in oil and gas corporate finance with UBS in London and Houston, was VP for Corporate Development at Anadarko and held SVP roles in Corporate M&A and Development & Production at Equinor, before joining BG Group as EVP for Global Business Development and Strategy. Katie holds an MA in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University. She is a Non-Executive Director of the specialist engineering group IMI and was shortlisted as ‘NED to watch’ in the 2021 Non-Executive Director Awards. 

Her extensive experience in the utilities industry then led to her appointment as chair of POWERful Women. POWERful Women is working for greater representation of women at the top of the UK’s energy industry. They are a professional initiative that seeks to promote the growth and leadership development of women across the energy sector  - and Katie is leading their mission to do so. 

Louise Parry -  Director of People & Organisational Development at Energy & Utility Skills

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Louise is responsible for people, organisational resilience, health & safety and business continuity and part of the Executive Team. Energy & Utility Skills help employers in the energy and utilities sector attract, develop and maintain a sustainable, skilled workforce through specialist services.

Passionate about making a difference, as part of her role Louise leads on Diversity & Inclusion. Working across the industry, she has played a key role in establishing the Energy & Utilities Inclusion Commitment and sector-wide inclusion measurement framework.

A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, Louise is a senior people leader & executive coach with over 20 years of experience working within people, diversity and related roles. Louise is currently also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industry Leadership Group.

Olivia Azadegan - Energy Transition Director at Clean Air Task Force

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Olivia Azadegan serves as Clean Air Task Force’s Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (MENA) Energy Transition Director. Olivia supports the development of integrated policies for the facilitation of Zero Carbon Fuels (ZCF) markets and related capital flows. Olivia primarily focuses on CATF’s Carbon Capture, Removal, and Storage (CCS) and ZCF programmes across Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to CATF, Olivia spent five years working in finance across London and New York. In her banking career at Barclays Private Bank, she managed relationships and accounts for clients in the Asia region. Olivia has worked in financial news and data roles for S&P Global, Thomson Reuters and The Financial Times fDi magazine.

As well as this, Olivia holds a Masters in Public Policy from the London School of Economics. Olivia is doing amazing work in her field and it isn’t going unnoticed as she was recently featured in the 2022, Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Penelope Hope - Co-founder of Rebel Energy 

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Rebel Energy is a new breed of energy supplier, providing clean energy to households in the UK at an affordable price. Rebel are on a mission to address inequality and combat the climate crisis with a benevolent mindset. Rebel with a cause, energy with a difference - co-founded by Penelope. 

“Clean energy is the defining issue of our time, and the energy industry has incredible change-making capacity. I wouldn’t spend my career working on anything else. The challenges of our industry are not simply the issues of generation and storage — but how to distribute clean energy thoughtfully, ethically, equitably,” said Penelope. 

Penelope entered the energy market from a background of entrepreneurship and capital raising and along the way noticed a new genre of business that was emerging: the conscious enterprise, (B-Corps) - and Rebel Energy are following in the footsteps of, and enabling these businesses to go fully green through their green energy services. 

Penelope wants a world without fossil fuels – and a better approach to carbon removal is essential.   

Poppy Mills - Director of ubitricity

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After studying Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Poppy went on to spend six years working in business development in Shell’s renewables and energy solutions business. Before going on to sit as the commercial lead for Shell’s acquisition of ubitricity - the UK’s largest public electric vehicle charging network - and she is now Director of ubitricity, responsible for strategy and commercial.

Poppy is leading the team at ubitricity to living cleaner, more sustainable lives by making EV charge points more accessible. They are doing this by integrating charge points into existing street lamp posts, and in doing so they are supporting cities, local authorities and municipalities in the rapid expansion of public charging infrastructure. 

Professor Clare Grey - Chief Scientise & Co-founder of Nyobolt

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Since the launch of lithium-ion batteries in the mid-1990s, award-winning Cambridge University chemist, Professor Clare Grey, has devoted her career to understanding how to improve the energy density and life cycle of batteries. 

Clare’s success started at the University of Oxford where, whilst studying a PhD in chemistry, her work on the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of tin materials, resulted in a paper in the famed NatureJournal. She then moved to chemical giant DuPont, where she was responsible for discovering environmentally friendly alternatives to the chlorofluorocarbons destroying the Ozone layer. It was here that her interest in the relationship between battery development and environmentalism grew.   

Today, Clare is a Geoffrey Moorhouse-Gibson Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, and a founding member of the new multi-million-pound Faraday Institution – the UK’s flagship battery research programme. 

In 2018, Clare and her team discovered that niobium tungsten oxide could be used to dramatically enhance the performance and lifetime of batteries. On the back of the niobium anode discovery, she co-authored the seminal 2018 paper, ‘Niobium tungsten oxides for high-rate lithium-ion energy storage’. The discovery led to the launch of Nyobolt, of which Clare is Co-Founder. 

Most recently, Clare was appointed Dame Commander of The Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to Science in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours List 2022. 

Rubina Singh - Head of Net-zero Innovation at British Gas & Non-Executive Director of POWERful Women  

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Rubina is a multi-award winning leader in net-zero technologies, strategy & innovation, most recently recognised with the Innovator Award 2022. With deep commercial and technical expertise in sustainable technologies, particularly solar, connected & electric vehicles and smart energy management.

Rubina has a passion for enabling a decarbonised future and getting stuff done. Currently leading the Ideation Delivery group at Centrica- a cross-functional team responsible for technology scouting, business case development, technology validation and accelerated go-to-market for net-zero solutions.

Her previous experience spans across commercial & growth strategy for Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies; technology development and validation at Fraunhofer; launching & leading new business divisions, and corporate venturing leading to investments in startups across North America and EMEA.

Sandra Sassow - Co-founder of SeaB Energy

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SEaB is an award-winning company, proudly chosen by the NASA-backed sustainability initiative “Launch; Beyond Waste” as a provider of global game-changing technology to address climate

change. They have also earned the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label, which recognises their solutions as clean, efficient, profitable and helping to create a positive impact on the environment.

As an entrepreneur whose career has combined my passion for technology, biology and property development, Sandra and her husband Nick co-founded SEaB as they recognised an opportunity to decentralise energy production and help businesses to reuse waste, whilst also making their premises a closed loop and self-sustaining.

Since its inception, they have successfully designed and engineered Flexibuster - a pioneering mobile, plug-and-play system designed to support organisations worldwide to transform large volumes of organic waste on-site into green energy. This is achieved through a microbial process where organic waste is transformed into electricity, heat, and usable water right at the point where the waste is generated, and the energy is required.

SeaB is truly innovative and makes a huge difference to the way businesses use and waste energy. 

Sarah Bentley - CEO of Thames Water

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Sarah joined Thames Water as Chief Executive Officer in September 2020, with the role of leaving development and deliverance of their day-to-day operations - with sustainability in mind. Previously, Sarah was on the Executive Committee at Severn Trent plc where she was appointed as Chief Customer Officer in 2014, leading the Consumer Retail, Wholesale Network Operations, Group Technology and Transformation divisions. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc.

Before Severn Trent, Sarah was the managing partner for Accenture’s digital business unit in the UK & Ireland delivering digital transformation programs to a range of large UK consumer-facing businesses and was a member of the Accenture UK & Ireland Executive Committee. Prior to Accenture, Sarah worked internationally in a number of roles including strategy, marketing and propositions for BT’s Global Services division, CEO of Datapoint, an Alchemy-backed company delivering customer relationship management (CRM) services throughout Europe, and senior vice president of eLoyalty, a global CRM and marketing consultancy. She was SVP of the European business, led the sales and operations activity in North America and ran eLoyalty Ventures L.L.C. working in Silicon Valley, Austin and New York

Sarah graduated from the University of Kent with a first-class honours degree in Management Science and Computing (BSc Hons) and is married with five children. Sarah has also been named the highest-paid employee of Thames Water since 2015. Sarah has truly climbed the ladder in her career and is proof that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Sophie Gillham - Head of sustainability at Recycling Technologies

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Sophie joined Recycling Technologies (RT) as one of its first employees back in 2015, after achieving her MSc in Environmental Consultancy and a BSc in Environmental Science.

Since joining RT, she initially applied her skills to commercial agreements and regulatory compliance and has raised several million in government funding to advance RT’s growth. Now heading a new dedicated Sustainability department, she is committed to ensuring corporate sustainability and environmental performance are at the core of RT’s operations. 

“I am dedicated to leaving the planet in a better state than I found it. It is therefore a privilege to be striving for just that as part of RT. To do so alongside a team devoted to the cause – whatever their motivation – makes it easy to get up in the morning.” said Sophie.

Sophie’s commitments to bettering the future of the recycling industry are helping make the world more sustainable day by day. 

Zoisa North-Bond - CEO of Octopus Energy for Business & Octopus Energy Generation

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Epitomising the agile leadership that is synonymous with disruptive businesses, Zoisa leads both the generation and the business retail arm of Octopus Energy.

Octopus Energy for Business works with companies to provide future-proof energy services, supplying them with 100% renewable and fairly priced power. Since launching in 2018, Zoisa’s team has accrued 40,000 customers, from SMEs to large organisations such as Arsenal FC. In May 2020, her team launched the Electric Juice Charging Network, the UK’s first consolidated network of charge point providers that allows users to charge their EVs across the UK with all costs appearing on a single bill.

Zoisa also runs Octopus Energy’s renewable generation arm, which recently announced the acquisition of a 3GW portfolio of renewable energy assets across seven countries. The division is also behind Octopus Energy’s ‘Fan Club’, a local energy tariff that provides cheaper energy when the wind blows.

Prior to Octopus Energy, Zoisa was the UK Managing Director of the Dutch Utility, Eneco B.V. At Eneco, Zoisa helped grow the UK’s renewable asset portfolio which consisted of more than 250MW of wind and solar projects, including a direct wire project with Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd. Eneco UK also supplied blue-chip companies such as Mars, Unilever, Heineken and AkzoNobel.

Zoisa has an extensive portfolio from the energy industry and she is putting this to good use to inspire and create a better future for the next generation.  

Are you a businesswoman making changes, with a story to tell? Why not enter this year’s Great British Businesswoman Awards, and let us celebrate you and your achievements - enter here

You can also nominate someone you know, who deserves to be shouted about - nominate here.